About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 4023 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain


R.L. Valijarvi

University College London (UNITED KINGDOM)
The purpose of my paper is to report on pilot online Finnish language courses for beginners and intermediate learners taught at University College London from October 2013 to April 2014. Students on the courses were asked to fill in a pre-course questionnaire about their expectations and a post-course questionnaire about their experiences. The paper will contain a detailed analysis of the results and address issues such as components, cost, method, assessment, student motivation, software and materials. The paper will share best practices and innovation in online language teaching.

The courses were funded by the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies (http://www.ceelbas.ac.uk/), and they were aimed at postgraduate students. There was no fee for the pilot courses to students who were based at various British universities and many other countries, including the US, Canada, Germany, India, China and Sweden. The courses were based on a widely used textbook and conducted entirely online through the conferencing tool Blackboard Collaborate without any physical meetings. The course book and weekly online lessons were complemented with vocabulary tests, grammar quizzes, written assignments and additional texts on the learning platform Moodle. At the end of the course the students were given a take-home exam and a certificate. Students were expected to reach level A1 in speaking, writing and listening, and level A2 in reading on the Common European Framework for Languages scale on the beginners’ course. On the lower intermediate course the expected equivalent levels were A2 and B1, respectively.

A brief reflection on the politics, economics, theory and rationale of online language courses and their relationship to concepts such as e-learning and blended learning, and to the popular Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will also be included. Less widely taught languages, such as Finnish, have a very small number of degree students on campus in the UK although they often are taught only at one university. Online delivery would enable, for example, Finnish courses to be delivered to students in other cities and countries thus increasing the number of participants and making the courses more sustainable. This is already the case in Sweden where many of the less widely taught languages are available only online.
author = {Valijarvi, R.L.},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {4023}}
AU - R.L. Valijarvi
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 4023
EP - 4023
ER -
R.L. Valijarvi (2014) PILOT ONLINE COURSES IN FINNISH LANGUAGE, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, p. 4023.